A city covered end-to-end with cornfields and country folk seems a familiar portrayal of Indianapolis in everything from sitcoms to national sports coverage. But just a cursory review of Indy's entertainment and arts venues, food markets and restaurants proves otherwise. Our Midwestern capital boasts more and more cultural and cosmopolitan cachet.
The richness of our growing diversity will be on full display Thursday through Saturday (Nov. 5-7) during the 39th annual INDY International Festival at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Exhibits from more than 60 ethnic groups will be represented to help share their history, heritage and traditions. These include participants from India, Estonia, the Philippines, China, Ethiopia and many more.
One small but very passionate group among them is comprised of college students. The Taiwanese Student Association at IUPUI brought student dancers from Don Hwa University of Taiwan to Indianapolis last May. And at this annual event, those performers will have a chance to demonstrate the little-seen dances of the tribal aborigines in Taiwan’s mountains to educate Midwesterners about the beauty of their culture.
Their dance symbolizes a traditional art form they fear will be lost forever if they don't share and teach it to others. That’s no less a mission for these IUPUI students.
Event organizer Lia Morris hopes many Hoosiers will attend to learn more about many different cultures and people in the world. She says, “When you embrace who you are, when you love who you are, it’s contagious. This is why people showed up to our event … because I love Taiwan.”
The INDY International Festival will include a colorful costumed Parade of 44 Nations, authentic foods from more than 20 ethnic vendors, artisans demonstrating and selling unique cultural crafts, an international marketplace, as well as national and local performance groups. These include staged events by: The Taiwanese contingent, along with dances such as the Spanish Flamenco, Hula and steps from Ireland, Latvia and Bollywood. Tribal dancing from a Native American group and concert performances by a Chinese orchestra will also be part of the celebration. And there will be a Naturalization Ceremony as a highlight of the gathering.
For a better understanding of IUPUI students’ connection to the Taiwanese Student Association, take a look at the video above by WFYI Productions. For more details about the event, visit Nationalities Council or the INDY International Festival website. RSVP via Facebook.